My original review of Gaslight can be found here. And really, nothing has changed still fantastic as ever. You can always rely on a good meal at not too bad prices. We went during restaurant week with no reservations and were able to sit down immediately in an area that is basically an extension of the bar. Those seats are first come first serve and I actually prefer them over the booths. (You get more of the French Brassiere feel in my opinion.) I got what I always get, the Steak Frites. Abby went with the Tuna Nicoise salad. Our orders took a while, and our waitress apologized for it, but really, it wasn't a big deal at all. We understood it's during restaurant week, so things will be a bit busier and more hectic than normal. No biggie. Our meals were as good as always. I'm glad we have a place like Gaslight a few steps from our front door.
Friday night, about 6:30pm, and we had no idea what we wanted to do for dinner. It being Lent, we knew we had to go to a place that served seafood. I browsed opentable for a while and was not getting any inspiration from the places we saw online. Either no reservation for the night or places that seemed too expensive for a simple Friday night. Abby, on her iphone, saw some good reviews for Scollay Square on yelp and I noticed that there was plenty of reservations. So I quickly got us a spot and we left the condo for Beacon Hill.
We arrived to see that Scollay Square had a nice outdoor area and there were still some after work crowd having beers and loud conversations. The weather had been great so we decided to sit outside. The hostess and waitstaff were all very friendly. It being restaurant week we quickly looked over their priced fix menu special. Not a bad offering actually, with Kobe Sliders and grilled salmon as options. However, we weren't in for a big meal, so we ordered off the regular menu, which consisted of classic pub eats. Abby got the goat cheese appetizer and a pear salad. I went for the fish and chips.
Our food came out quickly and everything was delicious. The goat cheese, a cheese I am always 50/50 about, was very smooth and creamy and was laid in a nice complimentary tomato sauce. Spread this cheese and some of the sauce onto the toasted bread and you have yourself a very nice starter. Abby's pear salad came with candied pecans that she couldn't stop raving about. The salad also was not drenched in dressing, which was nice. The pears, which may be out of season, were just ok though. My fish and chips were cooked perfectly. The fries were lightly battered and were very crispy. The fish, cut into small pieces instead of coming out as one huge piece, was very flaky with a batter that did not overpower the fish at all. The tartar sauce was nothing special, but wasn't bad either. Same with the coleslaw.
Scollay Square either just hired new chefs or redid their menu or both apparently. I do not know what it was like before, but the night we went the food was definitely way above average and probably better than most standard pub fare. I'd like to go back and try other items on the menu, especially in the summer when the outdoor area will more than likely be really busy. (The next day I got a call from Scollay Square asking how our meal was. I told them everything was great, just like I said in this review, but I was a little nervous that this was some scam afraid someone just wanted to check my phone number to match my credit card I used or something. Then I realized I paid cash for our meal and that the phone number that called me matched the phone number on the website. Guess they just wanted to make sure we had a good dinner.) I give Scollay Square a very strong 3 1/2 out of 5.
Lanna Thai Diner
I was browsing through Boston.com's list of Best Diners when I saw Lanna Thai Diner listed. There is no way, no how a tiny Thai place inside an actually diner exists in New England and I didn't know about it. So of course this place became a must eat for Abby and I. All the reviews rave about how great the food is and how great the owners are. Chalk us up just like the other reviewers because we came away wanting to become regulars. While Woburn isn't that far, it's probably a good thing Lanna's isn't just around the corner in South End or I'd be there 4 or 5 times a week.
We parked on Main Street and walked in on a quiet Saturday evening. There was only a family that was just seated on the left side, and we sat down on the right side at a table for 2. There isn't really much space if you have a party of more than 4 or 5 I think. There are about six or so seats at the counter as well. When we sat down a regular came in and chatted with the owner for a bit and then sat down at the counter with his partner. I envied those two, because they clearly came here often and were friends with the owner. Our table had a couple of rooster figurines on it and also some printed copies of reviews that Lanna had received.
The menu itself is quite large and had all the regular Thai dishes as well as some specialties. I inquired if they had "mee krab" a Thai dish that we made in a cooking class in Phuket but the owner said that he doesn't make it because it's too unhealthy. (It's rice noodles that are deep fried, so he probably has a point about that...though it's so damn good.) Abby went with the special of the night, a stir fried egg noodle dish, and I was lame and just went with the Pad Thai. (I know, I should have tried something else, but I haven't had pad thai in a very long time and was sort of craving it.)
The pad thai came out within minutes of us ordering. We both started devouring the plate not caring that Abby's dish hasn't come out yet. This was some damn good pad thai. The noodles were perfectly cooked and weren't dry or mushy. The chicken, as so usually is, was not dry or overcooked. And the bean sprouts and carrots added just the right amount of freshness and crispness to the plate. The flavors had just the right combination of savory and sweet and with just a little bit of heat. Next time I'll probably ask for it to be a little spicier, but otherwise this dish was perfect. Abby's stir fry came out just a few minutes later and was likewise perfect. Where the pad thai had some sweetness, this egg noodle stir fry was more savory. Again the fresh veggies added just the right amount of crunch so that the dish wouldn't just be soft noodles. And the portions were huge. You could probably have just shared one of these dishes for two people, but they were so good we couldn't stop eating until both plates were clean.
For desert we had to get the mango sticky rice. The owner, in an apologetic manner, stated that the mangos aren't going to be as good as they will be until next week or so. It didn't matter to us. The mangos, even though not quite in season, were perfect. And the sticky rice had just the right amount of sweetness from the coconut milk that my sweet tooth was definitely satisfied.
Everything about Lanna's is fantastic, from the fact that it's a diner to the amazing food, to the friendly owners. You feel like you are just eating out with friends that happen to be making Thai food in the back. We chatted to the owner about our trip to Thailand and how we wish there was mangosteen available in Boston. He told us about how much mango he ate just a couple of weeks ago when they went back to Thailand for vacation. Needless to say we had a great experience for dinner and will be back often. I give Lanna Thai Diner a 5 out of 5.
On The Menu